L5/6 - Memory Flashcards Preview

PSYC1020 - Introduction to Psychology - Minds, Brains and Behaviour > L5/6 - Memory > Flashcards

Flashcards in L5/6 - Memory Deck (8):

Memory Ability:

  • Memory plays a large role in how we think, solve problems and make decisions
  • Many variables can impact on memory (e.g. repetition, word length/frequency, list length, serial position, context)


3 Processes of Memory for Remembering/Learning:

  1. Encoding: Hippocampus transforms sensory stimuli into a form that can be placed in memory.
    • Some spatio-visual information is automatically, unintentionally encoded (e.g. remembering where on a page something you learnt was located)
  2. Storage: Effectively retaining information for later use
  3. Retrieval: Locating the memory and using it (e.g. recall vs recognition


3 Types of Memory Stores:

  • Stimuli
  • Sensory Register – some lost
  • Short term memory – some lost
  • Long term memory – some lost


Sensory register:

Storage system that registers (and briefly holds) information from the senses

  • Iconic Memory: related to visual system, less than ½ second duration, 9 to 10 items (Sperling, 1960)
  • Echoic Memory: related to auditory system, around 2 seconds duration, around five items


Short-term (working/active) memory (STM):

Intermediate storage system that briefly holds information prior to consolidation

  • Lasts about 30 seconds
  • Capacity = 5-9+

    • Chunking: Organising information into meaningful groupings (using long term memory), allowing us to extend the capacity of short-term memory


Long-term memory (LTM):

Infinite capacity storage system that retains information for a long period of term

  • Serial position effect: Larger capacity actually makes it easier to create new memories
  • Vulnerable to distortion: Tend to store general concepts for dynamic/changeable processes rather than details
  • Free recall: Don’t have to remember order
    • Primacy effect: Memory best for things learned first (more breaks = more effective study)
    • Recency effect: Memory also better for things learned last (but mostly this is STM contribution to the task)
    • Context: Memory is better when you are in the context you learned the material in (put yourself mentally in the context which you learnt it)
    • Internal state: Memory is better when your internal state is the same as at the time of learning

I. Declarative (hippocampus)

  • Conscious recollection (things you can “declare”)
  • (a) Episodic: Memory of specific past events that you’ve seen and done (e.g. what you had for lunch yesterday, what you did on your birthday last year)
  • (b) Semantic: Facts and basic knowledge you can recall and declare (e.g. Paris is the capital city of France)

II. Procedural (frontal lobe)

  • Without awareness of remembering
  • Skills you have learnt (e.g. how to ride a bike, how to sign your name)


Cognitive Memory Research:

Abstraction: cognitive process by which we encode and store the essential meaning of a message and not the exact details of learning events

Schema: Set of ideas about objects and events associated with familiar activity

"Eyewitness memory”: Post-event leading questions can distort long term memory (which lacks detail) and overinflate confidence of these memories regardless of actual accuracy



  • Long-term memory has a very large storage capacity and is generally enduring but involves dynamic (changeable) processes which can readily distort memories
  • Chunking strategies can increase memory capacity

    • One of several strategies involving use of retrieval cues to improve memory

  • Memory is reconstructive

    • Not pure retrieval—sometimes we unknowingly “fill in the gaps”

  • Memory is heavily influenced by how we encode and arrange information and by its meaning to us
  • Consequently, memory plays a large role in how we think, solve problems and make decisions